How to Prevent Your Clothes From Shrinking


We’ve all been there.  You take your laundry our from the dryer and your favorite shirt somehow accidentally snuck in and now is the perfect size for a doll.  Your tiny shirt is then thrown into the pile of misfit clothes, and you frantically search for ways to get your favorite shirt back to its original size.

Here at Mulberrys in Minneapolis, San Francisco and Dallas, we are frequently asked about how to prevent clothes from shrinking. Taking your clothes to a dry cleaner can be one way to avoid shrinking clothes, but there are also some extra steps you can take in your laundry room.

How to keep your clothes from shrinking.

It’s difficult to reverse shrinking, but it’s easy to avoid it in the first place. Remember the acronym WASH DRY next time you’re in the laundry room.

Why Do Clothes Shrink?

Clothes can shrink for a variety of reasons, many of which are due to washing techniques. But there are other factors in shrinking that can start all the way back at the manufacturing process for your piece of clothing. Different types of fabrics and materials can be more or less prone to shrinking, and the way a piece of clothing was made can also play a role. Certain fabrics are more susceptible to shrinking, with natural fibers able to stretch more than man-made fibers and materials.

 The Right Way to Prevent Clothes From Shrinking

What is the best way to prevent your clothes from shrinking? We prefer the WASH DRY method to avoid shrinking your favorite piece of clothing.
    • Wash with cold water:  Cold water can be less damaging to your clothes. Hot water can cause your clothing to relax which will result in shrinking.
    • Air dry or tumble dry:  Instead of using the dryer, consider hanging up your clothes to dry.
    • Spin on gentle cycle: The gentle cycle will help keep the fabric of your clothes in shape.  The longer the spin cycle, the more your clothes are likely to get agitated and shrink.  Some dryers have a “tumble” setting.  This setting will spin dry your clothes using only motion, not heat.
    • Hand wash:  If your washer or dryer does not have a gentle cycle, consider hand washing your clothes.
    • Dry clean:  Clothes made of natural fibers should be taken to a dry cleaner.  At Mulberrys, we use processes that avoid shrinking your clothes. Stop by your local Minneapolis, Saint Paul, or San Francisco Mulberrys and we’ll be happy to dry clean them for you using our non-toxic processes. 
    • Read labels:  Fabrics like cotton and wool that have a tendency to shrink will have explicit washing and drying directions. Always read the clothing labels.
  • Yell at your washer and dryer..then replace them:  Sometimes the problem can be your washer and dryer.  The temperature and settings may not be working properly, causing your clothes to shrink despite taking all the necessary steps.  You can also bring your clothes to Mulberrys dry cleaners in Minneapolis or San Francisco and we’ll take care of them for you.

How to keep your clothes from shrinking

Mulberrys uses award-winning dry cleaning processes and services to remove spots and when you get your clothing back, you’ll know your clothes were not victims of shrinking. We recommend always bringing in your clothes that are made of natural fibers, such as wool, to be dry cleaned.  It’s the best way to avoid shrinking your favorite items.  Our wet cleaning services use new, gentle washing methods and biodegradable soaps and conditioners to ensure your clothes are properly cleaned.

All our locations in Minneapolis, San Francisco and Dallas are staffed with dry cleaning and laundry experts. We also offer incredibly convenient dry cleaning delivery to save you some time.

Learn more about taking care of your clothes.